The first book in the series is about Mandy Ryan, an overweight customer service representative that thinks she’ll never find love. Mandy is happy with her life until she meet Xander Carlson who gives her hope for love in her future.
Mandy and Xander have a rough start, but he refuses to give up, and she finds it well worth the struggle.
His gaze felt like ice running over my skin. It brought goosebumps over my exposed skin and made my nipples stand on end. He looked predatory, like he was getting ready to stake his claim on me. Like he was pissed off and possessive because of it.
I’d never had a man look at me like that.
And I liked it.
“What do you want to know? I’ll tell you anything.”
I regarded him cautiously. What people say and what they do can be very different things. I still didn’t know him and had no idea if he would actually answer any questions, but I figured I’d give it a shot.
“How long was your last relationship?”
“Six months,” he said without missing a beat. If he was surprised that’s what I started with, he didn’t indicate it.
“When did it end?”
“Four months ago. And before you ask, I ended things because I realized she wasn’t right for me. She didn’t make me laugh anymore.”
“What’s the most important thing in a relationship?”
“Compatibility,” he answered, looking me straight in the eyes. I tried to see something in there, to see if he thought we were even remotely compatible but I had no clue.
“What constitutes compatibility to you?”
“Well, she has to be someone I can have a conversation with. Someone I can talk to and get along with. I like a woman who is sure of herself and knows who she is, not always looking for a man, or a job or her friends, to define her. I want someone who enjoys some of the same things I do, but is open to new activities.”
“What about sex?”
He paused, his coffee cup an inch from the table. He set it down carefully and met my eyes, muddy green drawing me in and making me forget both where we were and that we’d only just met. “What about sex Mandy?”
My name on his lips was like heaven. I wanted to hear it again, a soft and perfect word that could have been a passionate sound or a dismissive one, but all I heard was passion.
Was he toying with me?
“Is sex important in determining compatibility?”
He took a sip of his coffee, watching me while he considered his next words. I’m sure he thought I was propositioning him, telling him I was ready and willing. Of course he would assume that. The fat girl was desperate so why wouldn’t she be begging for it.
“Sex is very important in determining compatibility. But I also think it’s one of the last things to figure out if it works. The first thing I notice in a woman is her smile. It’s why I wanted to meet you. Your laugh led me to believe you would have a gorgeous smile.”
He was carefully avoiding exactly what I wanted him to tell me. I wanted him to get it out there. Just tell me I was a fat, ugly cow and he’d never want me. That’s all I wanted from him, but he wouldn’t say it.
I guess I had to give him credit for being diplomatic.
“After a smile, what do you notice in a woman. Physically.”
“Physically?” he clarified with a quirk of his eyebrow. “Is this some sort of research project or something? I feel like I’m taking a test.”
No one should look as good as he did with one eyebrow raised. Most people looked silly, but on Xander nothing was silly. It was just downright sexy. He was teasing me, tormenting me into coming right out and asking him the direct question I was trying to avoid.
“Do you like fat girls? Like me? Let’s just get it out there.”
Xander sat back in his seat. All of a sudden the teasing and humor was gone from his face and a quiet seriousness took over his features. He looked menacing, strong. And pissed.
“I wouldn’t say you’re fat, Mandy, but honestly, I’ve never given much thought to the size of the women I date. I look for a woman whose company I enjoy and go from there.”
“Really, so you’ve dated fat women before,” I snarled at him. His answer avoided what I wanted to know and he knew it. He was trying to let me down easy and it was pissing me off. Just tell me the damn truth.
His gaze skirted over me, as if trying to figure out just how big I was. I sat firmly, my jaw set in a hard line to show him I wasn’t going to be some little pushover he could bang and forget. He wasn’t getting one over on me.
“Most of the women I’ve dated have been thin, yes. I would say you’re the biggest one I’ve gone out with.”
I nodded, willing the tears I felt stinging my eyes to stay inside until I walked away. “That’s what I thought. Well, thank you for reminding me of my place in the world.”
I stood up and walked back to my table where my friends sat gawking at me. I grabbed my purse and headed straight for the bathroom, ignoring Xander calling my name and the stares of my friends.
In the bathroom I let a few of the tears fall. It felt good to let them out, to clear the pain I felt. Even though I knew Xander wouldn’t like me, it hurt to hear he’d never date a fat woman. I don’t know why I bothered to go out with him in the first place. It really was just foolish on my part.
After a few minutes, I pulled myself together, splashing cold water on my eyes and reapplying my mascara. I walked out of the bathroom with my head held high and headed straight for my table. It was no big shock to find Xander’s table empty.
I hope you liked the preview about Mandy and Xander. I loved creating their story and I can’t wait for you to read the rest. Make sure you sign up for my newsletter (below) to get all the sneaks and details about the release of Big & Beautiful!